Topic: Soil Testing
Soil testing is a much overlooked aspect of lawn care. Most homeowners assume that soil testing is an expensive, complicated, scientific process that can only be performed by a skilled technician. True, the actual testing of the soil is performed in a laboratory with high tech equipment (or should be, to give accurate results), but taking the sample itself is relatively simple, and there are a number of reason why this should be done annually.
In order to fix a problem we must first identify the problem. If we see problems in the turf, we can’t begin to remedy them until we understand what is causing them. Every lawn has a PH range that is ideal for turf grass sustainability (and the same is true for trees, shrubs, flowers, and vegetable gardens). If we want to create a beautiful healthy turf we need to understand what the requirements of our turf are, and then tailor a treatment plan to maintain this condition.
A soil test will tell us what the current PH of the soil is, as well as the levels of basic nutrients such as phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Based on the results of the soil test we can determine if lime is needed, and if so, what kind. We can then determine what blends of fertilizer are appropriate (we may choose a fertilizer heavier in certain nutrients or lighter in certain nutrients depending on the condition of the soil and the desired range).
Conducting a soil test annually will allow you to keep track of changes in your soil conditions and stop problems before they start.
A soil test kit can be obtained from the county extension office, and there are detailed instructions inside explaining how to properly take the samples. All that is required is a small hand trowel, a clean bucket, and perhaps a mesh strainer.
If you prefer not to take the samples yourself, we offer soil testing as part of our chemical program services, and a detailed copy of the test results is always provided to the customer. We will be happy to conduct a soil test for you even if you don’t want a chemical program or lawn services.
Garth Jones, Owner
Scenic Lawn Care & Landscaping, LLC